By: Trey Brush
The Atlanta 10 miler has been a race in the making over the years as the longer distance races in this city have seen a lot of change. Back in 2011, the Atlanta Track Club introduced the Atlanta Marathon to be held on its own in October. The marathon had been held along with the 13.1 on Thanksgiving for many years, but they decided to make the Thanksgiving race just the 13.1 and move the marathon to another date. In 2011 it was the full marathon and the marathon relay. Crazy enough on a tough marathon course that is still my marathon PR. (That will change in January at Disney!) They would tinker with this race the next couple of years trying to decide what makes the most sense and what works. In 2013 they kept the full marathon but also added a 10 miler as well. I ran the 10 miler in 2013 and it was my first race at that distance. I now love that distance. Earlier this year they announced that they were doing away with the marathon and this race would turn into the Atlanta 10 miler which would also include a 5k option. I think it was a great idea!
A few reasons for that:
- Those of us who live in Atlanta don’t really love running marathons in Atlanta
- Atlanta is also not a city that is a big draw for visitors to come run a marathon
- Atlanta with all the hills is just a tough place to run a marathon
- I love the distance build up idea through the year with the ATL Track Club; 10K in July, 10 miler in October and the 13.1 in November
By doing away with the marathon, they were able to put full concentration into making the Atlanta 10 miler race and pulling it off with excellence. Here is what you need to know, you are running in Atlanta so the course is tough. This is not Savannah so don’t pretend you won’t run hills. I earned my PR time on this course. My time is a time I am excited about and with it being on a tough course it makes me feel even better about it.
The course itself was very solid. I thought it was scenic and really highlighted some very beautiful areas of Atlanta. The race was split into 2 parts for me. The first 5 miles were not easy, but I do think overall it was a downhill race the first half of the course. There were some climbs, but it felt mostly downhill. Since we start and finish in the same place as you run, you know what that means...you have to get it back. I felt the climb started at mile 5. There was a significant climb right after mile 5. From my count on the last 5 miles there were about 6-7 serious climbs. Once you make it to Peachtree Street and head to Cardiac hill the race closes with 5 significant hills. You just have to know that going into the race.
If you are from Atlanta you might be familiar with many of the areas of the course you run on such as Northside Drive, Collier Rd, Overbrook Drive, Peachtree Battle, Deering and 17th Street at Atlantic Station. I seldom pick out the flat easy courses because it does not really do anything for me. I would say this course was on the tougher side, but it did have some sections where you could really make it happen and run some fast splits as well.
There were about 3,000 finishers in the 10 miler alone and probably another 600-700 in the 5k so it was a good crowd and atmosphere. That is another thing I enjoy about a race. I know a race with great competition will help force me to run my best time. Being a big fish in a small pond has never helped me bring out my best. A big reason for my PR from this past weekend was having strong runners around me. Another great thing about the race were the designated cheer sections done by different groups as well as solid crowd support along the course.
The best thing about the whole race for me were the pace group leaders I was a part of. I had a goal before the race. As I train for the Disney Marathon this January, I am trying to stay on track for my goal in Disney. A race like this is a progress report and can let you know how your training is going. I started off with the pace group and I knew we were solid through 5 miles. The cardiac mile staggered me and put doubts in my head on whether I could do it or not. Serious doubts! I felt like I was leaking oil with 2 miles to go and I knew it would be tight. My pace group leader was waiting for me as we turned onto Deering Street with a couple of miles to go and said we were going to make it. Long story short, he delivered me under my goal time with a PR. It was one of those things where I had it in me, but I needed a push. I needed a kick in the pants that would not accept backing down. There is nothing quite like hitting a goal!
I am really excited about the future of this race and I feel like they have found the right formula for what this event really is, after going through some transition trying to figure it out. I would say the Atlanta 10 miler is one to put on the future race list!
Trey is a runner and coach with a desire to help create change in others. He lost 80 pounds on his journey from a watcher in life to a doer. His passion for running and creating change led him from the couch to marathons and ultramarathons. He is a husband and the father of 2 boys living in Jefferson GA. You can follow Trey on twitter @RunOnPurpose